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Federal Judge Hears Provisional Ballot Case

A federal judge in Columbus says he'll rule by Thursday on whether 1,000 disputed provisional ballots should be counted. The ballots were cast in Franklin County and could determine the outcome of the 15th Congressional District race.

The delay will give U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley time to consider legal filings from the two parties. A lawsuit filed last week argues that ballots without proper identification or without names or signatures signed in the proper places are flawed and should not be counted. The secretary of state's office argues that such stringent requirements do not exist in Ohio law.

The plaintiffs, who are supporters of 15th congressional district candidate Steve Stivers, a Republican, had filed their suit in the all-Republican Ohio Supreme Court. But Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat, requested it be moved to federal court. U.S. District Judge Marbley agreed to hear the case.

The outcome of the 15th Congressional District race might be decided on provisional ballots. Republican Steve Stivers holds a narrow lead over Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy by fewer than 400 votes.